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Old 03-31-2020, 03:42 AM
Pierre Louis Pierre Louis is offline
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BMW and marketing

I know that my point of view may be biased toward less powerful, more classic sports cars, but am I wrong to criticize BMW for poor marketing in the US of some of their vehicles? Cars like the original Z3 did get a lot of publicity in their use in a Bond movie, for example, and this seemed to help. But others not so much and that dealers just about hid some cars from buyers, perhaps not literally. My local dealer actually tried to dissuade me from buying a diesel and actually wasn't even interested in discounting much of anything. I went elsewhere.

My experience has been that little in media attention or dealer stock has been devoted to the following models that eventually failed in the marketplace:

318tii
318is
525d
330e and other 3 and 5-series hybrids before the 530e which has garnered some attention of late
540d
Current Z4

The television commercial on BMW diesels was pathetic with its use of older cars spewing black smoke, implying that new BMWs were clean. It just didn't ring well with the public it seems, partly due to its bashing of diesels.

Interestingly the current Z4 is not being marketed for the sports car it is with superb handling. They do not include it as a model at the BMW Performance Driving School. I would have liked to have a Porsche experience type test drive of the Z4 on the track before deciding on whether to buy one instead of a Boxster. Instead, a 2 series with numb steering and few sports car features is used in its M-sport form (the M2 and M3 are available I think but are not used for the main program). I suppose poor marketing of manual transmissions can also be a complaint, but I understand BMW's need to keep in mind the most common buyers in this regard.
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  #2  
Old 03-31-2020, 04:48 AM
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Doug Huffman Doug Huffman is offline
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Good morning, Pierre Louis, always good to hear from you.

I believe that the idea of a sports car has been lost. More important than performance is affordability. My first was an AH 100-4. I remember Cortinas, and Sevens, and Minis. My 1973 911 cost $18K loaded. I remember learning to 'drive' a Corvair. Ahh, yes, SAAB 850 Monte Carlo, some early rotor-motor, not a Wankel, ... NSU Spider!

After the Navy I got a job at the nicest independent foreign car shop in Charleston, SC, Fredrick's Auto Haus. We loved customers' Mazda rotor-motor cars to fetch lunch, with the overrev alarm screaming and the tach buried.

ETA: Wandering down memory lane, I found a video of a plumber's nightmare running, a Mazda 4-rotor 4-turbochargers.
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Last edited by Doug Huffman; 03-31-2020 at 05:38 AM.
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Old 03-31-2020, 05:06 AM
Autoputzer Autoputzer is offline
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The current and previous Z4's are sort of mermaids, not enough fish to be a good fish, and not enough girl to be a good girl. They're not a Mercedes-Benz SL, and they're not a Boxter, either. Somebody described them as a "hairdresser's SL." Like the MINI, the original Z3 was a retro-car. If I wanted a car that looked like it was from the 1960's, I'd buy a 1960's car. Detroit is now building 1970's retro-cars: Mustang, Camaro, Challenger.

The first Z4 had odd styling. It reminded me of a front clip of a 7 Series welded onto a small roadster.

A friend of Frau Putzer's saw one of the second generation Z4's and instantly wanted one. She had to ask me what it was. From the grill, she figured out it was a BMW. This was right as it was going out of production, so that was pretty much the end of that. Frau Putzer was also intrigued by the second generation Z4, but not enough to want one. She said that if we have a fleet of a half-dozen cars, a Z4 would be her second or third car. There's no Z4 in our three-car fleet.

We were invited to several BMW NA events conducted at the BMW dealership. We'd drive BMW's and competitor's cars: M-B, Porsche, Lexus, Volvo, Jag'. But, that was the end of it. They never asked us any questions. I dragged one of the BMW marketing dweebs over, and showed him the spare tire in the previous generation M-B E Class. I told him that my next car, and the one after that too, will have non-run-flat tires and a spare tire stored under the cargo area floor. His response was "Yeah, but how often do you get a flat tire." I later sent BMW a letter about this issue, specifically concerning Frau Putzer's next vehicle, an SUV. To their credit, I got a call from them, and Frau Putzer's two-year-old G01 X3 has both non-run-flat tires and a spare tire stored under the cargo area floor.

A lot of diesels were sold to STEM's who understand their advantages. It's hard to trigger emotions in a person to cause them to buy a diesel car. What killed the diesel was the difficulty to control emissions, specifically NOx and soot. The emission systems warranty claims were probably the specific thing that killed German diesels in the U.S.

The E30 318is was "tweaky." much like the original Honda S2000. You had to flog it avoid stalling it. They were probably fun on a track on the weekend. But, driving them in urban traffic was a PIA.

That list of BMW's contains nothing I'd buy. The 330e and 530e fail my car selection criteria because of the lack of spare tires and the lack of non-run-flat tires on the 530e. Also, if I'm going to be driving on electricity, I want to do it for the whole trip. Most of my trips in town are over 20 miles long. That's because my town is about 20 miles long and about one mile wide. I assume that every car I buy will eventually end up on it's roof. So, I'm not a convertible guy.

Last edited by Autoputzer; 03-31-2020 at 05:25 AM.
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Old 04-01-2020, 06:43 AM
Pierre Louis Pierre Louis is offline
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My 1991 E30 318is was a fantastic daily driver - it ran rings around my 1988 Carrera 3.2 sport suspension on back roads. We sold it to make room for an S-class in our budget....
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Old 04-01-2020, 06:50 AM
Pierre Louis Pierre Louis is offline
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I'm old fashioned and don't look for brute acceleration in a sports car, but handling and poise as well as beauty. Cars are female, ha ha. Not all my friends feel this way, one of which uses "horse" instead of "horsepower" in his conversations. He's insecure in his masculinity, IMO.

Last edited by Pierre Louis; 04-01-2020 at 06:51 AM.
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